Today is deadline day for the sequester, the automatic budget cuts of $85 billion that will hit the Pentagon and federal agencies.

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National Chicken Council President Mike Brown testified on Tuesday before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security on behalf of a broad food manufacturers coalition about the need for a stable and permanent workforce that can help sustain the rural communities where meat and poultry facilities operate.

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Production of federally-inspected young meat chicken last year was 49,349,564,000 pounds, liveweight, 0.4 percent less than the 49,559,126,000 pounds in 2011, a decline of 0.4 percent, according to “Poultry Slaughter 2012 Summary” issued this week by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

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The National Chicken Council, along with seven other trade groups, recently sent a letter to the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Bob Perciasepe, to express deep concern over the public release by EPA of the personal and business information about thousands of livestock and poultry farmers across 30 states. 

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The Environmental Protection Agency has changed its cellulosic biofuel requirements for 2012 from 8.65 million gallons to zero.

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The International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and the U.S. Maritime Alliance have set a new March 8 deadline for negotiation of local contracts covering port-specific issues that supplement a Maine-to-Texas master agreement.

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Mexican authorities thus far have culled 2.1 million chickens exposed to avian influenza, which has spread to 18 farms in the state of Guanajuato.

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Russian chicken companies are “working hard” to boost exports after increasing domestic output, according to Sergey Yushin, head of Russia’s National Meat Association in a Bloomberg news report from Moscow.

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Representatives Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) this week introduced legislation aimed at gathering and analyzing further information on the amount of antimicrobial drugs used in livestock production.

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House Republican leaders will begin to engage next week on immigration reform, launching a series of listening sessions.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are sponsoring a public meeting on March 12 to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the Seventh Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which will be held in Moscow April 8-12.

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Michelle Obama this week launched a new partnership with USDA, Pinterest and five major media companies (Hearst, Condé Nast, The Food Network, Meredith and Time Inc) in order to promote healthy eating and cooking.

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Intended U.S. placements of broiler pullet chicks for the hatchery supply flock for January 2013 were 6,303,000,  a 6-percent decrease from the 6,673,000 pullet chicks placed in January 2012, according to the “Chickens and Eggs” report issued yesterday by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).

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U.S. total broiler slaughter for the week ending March 2 is estimated by USDA-AMS’s Poultry Market News Service to be 155,389,000 broilers, a 2-percent increase from the same week a year earlier.

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